John Ball’s mystery novels document his status as a pioneering master of the police procedural genre. These finely crafted, intricately plotted works focus directly on the minutiae of criminal investigation, emphasizing both the efficiency of plodding routine and the necessity of dovetailing teamwork in solving and preventing crime. He concentrated on different aspects of these tasks in his two series. Virgil Tibbs works primarily on his own, meticulously piecing details together until the entire complicated picture emerges. Jack Tallon, on the other hand, is—as chief of police—the consummate organizer and team player; his solutions to problems arise from organized group efforts. Taken together, the two series (along with Ball’s nonseries mysteries) develop what might be called a systems approach to crime and detection. This focus on teamwork and on following established procedures was Ball’s trademark.